ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rethinking Governance of Public Toilets

Based on an audit of public toilets in Hyderabad, this article argues that public-private partnership projects seem to have compounded the problems of inequitable spatial distribution and inefficient operation of toilets. They have also failed to address the problem of lack of facilities for women and differently-abled people. With the Swacch Bharat Mission, the way forward must involve a careful rethinking of public toilet governance, including revision of planning norms, providing statutory backing to these norms, and creating effective regulatory institutions. This is essential to alleviate the intensifying everyday contestations between those who desire a "clean city" and those who are forced to defecate in the open.

Mapping the Coastal Commons

Multiple, overlapping logics of urbanisation are transforming Tamil Nadu's coast. Real estate, infrastructure, tourism, and urban beautification plans are putting unprecedented pressure on the coastal commons. Fisherfolk, whose everyday life and survival is rooted in the commons, are at the centre of these processes of coastal urbanisation. Faced with the prospect of losing access to these spaces, fisherfolk are drawing upon their customary knowledge and new satellite mapping techniques to assert their rights to land and livelihoods.

Analysing Urban Growth Boundary Effects on the City of Bengaluru

Bengaluru is encircled by a green belt, instituted as an urban growth boundary to contain sprawl, ensure equitable growth, and preserve lung spaces. Urban growth boundaries the world over are typically known to drive land prices higher in the inner city area by artificially limiting the supply of land. Bengaluru has witnessed significant increases in land prices over the last decade. This paper examines whether the green belt in Bengaluru has had a significant effect on land prices through an analysis of price differentials inside and outside the growth boundaries. It also debates the relevance of a green belt as an urban containment tool in regimes characterised by ineffective provision of infrastructure and lax implementation of zoning regulations.

Delusory Transformations

Many policy experts have pointed out that the lack of capacity in urban local bodies resulted in poor implementation of projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. This paper presents findings from case studies of two transport infrastructure projects in Dehradun city to demonstrate that the reasons for the unexpected outcomes were of a more complex nature. Instead of local governments, all proposals were drawn up by consultants operating under unrealistic deadlines. Project proposals were prepared with an excessive focus on target expenditure and infrastructure creation. The paper emphasises that implementing such programmes requires an effective institutional design that bridges the gap between local governments in small cities and grant-making agencies at higher levels.

The Woman Rebel and the State

This ethnographic study of the female insurgent and her journey back from camp to the community discusses the encounter between women rebels who get trapped between the state and the organisation. Even as these former combatants cope with the messy politics of disengaging from the outfit that continues to patronise them, it does not always redress their needs and grievances in post-conflict rehabilitation. This article examines the former rebel's possible foray into peace-making and the legal/juridical and social impasses in the matter of her rehabilitation and reintegration into civil life. It also exposes the shrinking democratic space available to these former rebels who negotiate the tricky path beyond conflict.

New Fault Line in Conflict?

This article offers an analysis of the structure of women's emergence as the subject of peace - factors that bind, facilitate, and influence their participation in peace building and reconstruction processes in north-east India. What factors and structures facilitate and constrain women's emergence as public actors in the time of peace building, particularly when peace building is dominated by governmental policies and visions marked by neo-liberal developmentalism? Can we get a sense of the structure of women's emergence as the subject of peace through a careful analysis of how women have been doing in the region in the last 20 years?

'Why So Much Blood?'

To understand the nature of violence against women in Tripura, three cases from separate moments in history have been studied - the Raiabari, Gandachara, and Omanjoy Para incidents. History has left behind social tension, masculinisation lumpenisation of society and crimes against vulnerable groups. Among the last, women are primary victims and crimes against them are on the rise. Even the gender-neutral left government in Tripura has consistently enforced draconian measures. These forgotten and lost stories of violence need to be brought to wider attention.

New Conundrums for Women in North-East India

This article examines how the women in Nagaland and Tripura negotiate with the government and the underground militant movement. Combating their vulnerability these women have created spaces to be heard by forging alliances with both sides. With their innovative responses, adapting to changing circumstances and situations, they have succeeded in changing the techniques of negotiation. Despite the countless obstacles they have to overcome, they continue to carry on these negotiations and wrest these spaces.

Mothers and Activists in the Hills of Assam

Security experts have argued that women's organisations in north-east India are fragmented, fail to reach out across tribal identities, and lack agency independent of the militants, with whom they have links. This article will address these assumptions by investigating the evolution of women's activism in a conflict-ridden district of Assam, where "mothers" have appeared on the political stage. It asks what the new appeal to "motherhood" actually means, and whether "motherhood" is a vehicle for women's empowerment. How do the "mothers", as political activists, relate to conventional gender roles; how do they interact with previous generations of women's organisations; and how do they relate to other political actors?

Growth in Indian Agriculture

Indian agriculture has been doing far better in the years since 2004-05. This note explores available data to understand why this has been so. It is found that after 2004-05, public investment in agriculture increased, the National Horticulture Mission was launched, and more agricultural credit was made available that spurred private investment in agriculture as well. These policy initiatives resulted in increased yields and higher agricultural growth.

Punjab's Small Peasantry

The small peasantry in agriculturally advanced Punjab faces a severe economic crisis. Though the total workforce has increased over time, the proportion engaged in agriculture has been falling and the number of marginal and small holdings has been declining. The farm surpluses of indebted farmers are very low, and 14% of marginal and 9% of small farmers are effectively bankrupt. Low profitability has prompted many small farmers to leave agriculture and 28% of them have entered the labour market. More pressingly, a significant number have preferred to take their own lives.

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